Immigration bill backed by MPs
TOUGH new laws aimed at tightening the government's grip on immigration cleared the Commons last night.
The UK Borders Bill will introduce compulsory biometric ID cards for non-EU nationals and gives greater powers to immigration officers.
Measures in the bill will tackle fraud in the benefits system and lead to the automatic deportation of some foreign prisoners at the end of their sentences.
The legislation - described as a "ragbag" of measures with no "intellectual thrust" by the Conservatives - was given an unopposed third reading and now passes to the Lords.
The moves are part of reforms which saw the Immigration and Nationality Directorate become the Border and Immigration Agency earlier this year. They also complement a raft of changes announced last year, including doubling the immigration enforcement budget to 200 million and electronic checks on everyone entering and leaving the UK by 2014.
Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said the government's reforms were already "bearing fruit".
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